In a veiled criticism of a decision by Rwandan president, Paul Kagame to shutdown 6 000 churches in his country which has seen six pastors arrested, the Council of Churches in Namibia has reacted by stating that Namibia enjoys freedom of worship.
The six pastors who includes a well known Bishop are said to have been punished for going against a government directive that allowed for the widely reported crake down.
According to reports by World Watch Monitor, the closures come as the Rwanda Governance Board (RGO) is conducting a national review of proposed new regulations controlling faith-based institutions, including requirements that pastors have theological education and that buildings have two bathrooms each for men and women.
In an exclusive interview with The Villager, CCN’s Secretary General, Ludwig Beukes said, “In Rwanda I do not know what their constitution is saying, so I can not really say whether the president is acting within his constitutional mandate or not.”
“But now compared to Namibia, where you have freedom of worship and association, it is now totally something different. So one has to know the context in which the president takes a decision.”
However, Beukes has issues with t pastors and church leaders who are making money out of people via emergent churches and driving their faithful into poverty.
He said, “I think when they register churches the problem here is, most of the churches are registering with the ministry of trade as Section 21 company, so maybe this is where government needs to look into and say if you say you are a church, then you have to have a separate department whether at Home Affairs to say, all religious organisations have to register. Now its at the ministry of trade.”
Meanwhile, reports are that about 1 500 pentecostal churches across Rwanda have been closed over the past month with 700 due to allegations of noise pollution, leaving worshippers with nowhere to pray.
Suspicions are that these have been targeted because they have not been loyal to the state.